And you probably thought you had heard the last of the BS Interview Series. What's that? You'd hoped you'd heard the last? Yeah, well, it's not yet over. Despite the fact that others are making an art of it. Hey, it's summertime again and we're passing the time in one of the best ways possible -- asking other people to write stuff for us.
This installment of the BS Interview Series is with Mike over at Black Shoe Diaries. It sounds kinky, like Red Shoe Diaries, but it really isn't. Erotic videos of Joe Paterno should never be seen.
Away we go.
Boiled Sports: Admit it. The “Love ya Lions” thing they put on the board at the stadium is kind of girly, right? And what’s with that “roar” they play after first downs and whatnot? Honest thoughts?
Black Shoe Diaries: Well, we had to do something. And the World’s Largest Drum was already taken. Now pardon me while I ponder the concept of a Purdue fan mocking the Penn State football experience.
[Not exactly a denial that it's kind of swishy.-Ed.]
BS: Are PSU fans still basking in the glow of their national championship in the spring?
BSD: Still beating that drum, eh?
The NIT tournament was exciting, but Penn State fans aren’t delusional. We know it’s nowhere near the same level as the NCAA tournament. But for a program that not too long ago considered the Northwestern game the most important game of the year to keep from finishing last in the Big Ten, winning the NIT signifies a lot of progress. Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather play in the NCAA tournament. But if the selection committee doesn’t think you’re worthy, what are you going to do? If you have to go to the NIT, you might as well win the damn thing.
We’re excited with the direction the program is going. When DeChellis came on board we literally couldn’t even scrounge up enough players to hold a scrimmage in practice. Now we’re being invited to post season tournaments. We have some pretty good freshmen coming in this year with Tim Frazier and Bill Edwards. Next year we have a top 100 player in Taran Buie coming in. Ed is recruiting well and building some quality depth. And the schedule is beefed up this year to look more attractive to the selection committee. We’ve got a long way to go before people mention us as contenders for the Big Ten Championship, but we’re taking baby steps and getting better every day.
BS: When you think of Purdue Athletics, what do you think of?
BSD: I think there is tremendous potential at Purdue, but you’re in a tough spot geographically. I imagine every kid growing up in Indiana probably wants to play football for Notre Dame or Michigan. Or if they play basketball they probably want to go to Indiana or Kentucky.
I’ve always kind of liked Purdue going back to the Drew Brees and Mike Alstott days. But I don’t think the spread offense fits the personality of the school very well. You’re all about trains and hammers and for some reason really, really big drums. Scrap the spread and go with the wishbone offense. Power football would better suit your style.
BS: We (and probably many others) think JoePa is just a figurehead at this point and doesn’t do a whole lot (no headset, etc.). I know there are reports that claim otherwise. As a PSU fan and authority, what do you honestly think about him hanging around this long? Obviously, winning helps limit talk about how he should leave, but is the plan here to die on the field or something? We’re genuinely curious as to your take on Joe. When is enough enough?
BSD: Well, Bear Bryant never wore a headset either. Would anyone say he didn’t do a whole lot? Honestly, if he keeps going 11-1, winning Big Ten championships, and pulling in top 10 recruiting classes, he can coach as long as he wants in my book. I hope they clone him so he can come back and coach another 50 years.
But in my honest opinion I think there’s some truth to what you say. I wouldn’t say Joe is a figurehead, but he is a program manager. He delegates a lot of the daily duties of a head coach to his staff. Most head coaches keep either the offense or defense for themselves. Joe give the defense to Tom Bradley and the offense is split between Galen Hall and Jay Paterno. They organize and run the practices and put together the game plans, but I think everything still goes through Joe and he has the final say on everything. He’s there in practice getting in your face if you dog it on your assignment. He’s very much involved in the team operations, but he doesn’t work himself a hundred hours a week like most people think head coaches have to do these days to earn their million dollar contracts.
BS: Does the ongoing media perception that the Big Ten is second-tier bother you as much as some of the rest of us? Or do you not concern yourself with perception of the conference?
BSD: It doesn’t bother me that the SEC is the top dog in college football and the Big Ten is a few notches below them. That’s the reality of the situation. You can’t argue with the bowl records in recent years. The Big Ten just isn’t getting it done.
What bothers me is when I see people taking glee in it or suggesting an undefeated Big Ten team doesn’t deserve a chance at the title over a one-loss SEC or Big XII team. Maybe it’s the Penn State in me, but I believe you should win and lose with grace and class. Some SEC writers and bloggers don’t see it that way and they prefer to kick the Big Ten when it’s down. That’s fine. I know these things are cyclical and one day the Big Ten will be back just like Penn State came back after the first half of this decade. They make too much money to stay this bad forever.
BS: PSU is relatively new to the Big Ten (when you consider the conference’s long history) and doesn’t really have a hated rival the way UM-OSU, UM-MSU, PUR-IU, etc, do. So in your opinion, what program do you dislike the most and want to beat above all others?
BSD: Right now I would say Ohio State is the team Penn State fans love to hate the most. The Buckeyes are one of the two teams the Big Ten has assigned to never roll off our schedule. In 2005 and 2008 the game between our two teams has decided the automatic BCS bid for the conference. So we’re developing some history there, and lately the Buckeye fans worry more about us than their hated rival to the north.
It’s interesting though because up until last year if you had asked me I probably would have said Michigan was the team that Penn State fans hated the most. Losing nine in a row to the Wolverines including some real heart breakers made some Penn State fans start foaming at the mouth at the sight of a winged helmet. But we got over that hump and Michigan is largely irrelevant in the Big Ten picture for the next year or two so the hatred isn’t there anymore. But we still look forward to beating them up again this year.
BS: Best moment for you personally as a Lions fan? Worst moment for you as a Lions fan?
BSD: The best moment had to be the 17-10 win over the Buckeyes in 2005. I was there in attendance and it was my first whiteout. The stadium was literally shaking from all of the noise. And after the disappointing years from 2000-2004 it was a win over a top ten team that symbolized Penn State’s return as a relevant program on the national stage.
The worst moment had to be losing to Minnesota in 1999. We were the No. 2 team in the nation and looked like we were in the driver seat for a spot in the national championship game. But the Gophers hit a Hail Mary in the final seconds that set up a game winning field goal. After that the team went into a tailspin losing the next two games, and then they went on to have losing records four of the next five years.
Other bad moments include losing to Michigan in 2005 and Iowa in 2008. They all derailed national championship seasons. Getting snubbed in 1994 hurt too. Pick any one of them really.
BS: Do you have a college program other than your true love that you kind of have a guilty pleasure for and like to see do well?
BSD: When I was in high school I got to attend the 1991 Gator Bowl as a member of my high school marching band. Michigan beat Mississippi 35-3, so I kind of became a Michigan fan from that. I was still a diehard PSU fan as a kid, but this was a few years before Penn State joined the Big Ten so I didn’t see any conflict of interest there. Today I still kind of pull for the Wolverines when they’re not playing my Lions. Don’t tell the guys over at BSD I said that.
BS: You can have a national title (a real one) in football or basketball this coming year. Which do you choose and why?
BSD: Football. Easily. We’re long overdue and there have been too many times over the years where we either got robbed by the voters or came up just short. Plus I want to see Joe get one more.
BS: Most of those of us who write one of these blogsites have a steady list of sites they visit every morning. What are some favorite blogs of yours to read? List as many or as few as you’d like.
BSD: Honestly, there aren’t a lot of blogs I read every single day. That probably sounds pretty arrogant, but I just don’t have time. I have a family and a full time job. So when I sit down to the computer I’m just focused on finding material for my own blog. I mostly cruise the headlines looking for information to share, and most of it is Penn State related. Rarely do I ever read anything not related to Penn State or the Big Ten. Like MGoBlog says, pick a niche and dominate it. I have all of the Big Ten blogs in my reader so I scan through just about every post every Big Ten blog puts out. If I see something that looks interesting I’ll stop to read it. But I try to move on quickly. I used to get sucked into just reading blogs all day, and then at the end of the day I realized I hadn’t posted anything on my own blog. So I just try to focus on BSD as much as I can.
BS: Well-done on continuing the tradition of interview subjects who have yet to list Boiled Sports as a regular stop. *sigh* Love ya, Lions.
Previous subjects of the BS Interview Series:
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